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01/12/88 DUBOIS COUNTY BANK v. CITY VINCENNES

Filed: January 12, 1988.

DUBOIS COUNTY BANK, AS GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE OF THOMAS L. DOYLE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
CITY OF VINCENNES, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



APPEAL FROM THE GREENE CIRCUIT COURT, The Honorable David K. Johnson, Judge, Cause No. C-85-30.

Neal, J., Robertson, J. and Staton, J. Concur.

Author: Neal

NEAL, J.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Plaintiff-appellant, Dubois County Bank as Guardian of the Estate of Thomas L. Doyle (Doyle), appeals the decision of the Greene Circuit Court granting a motion for summary judgment in favor of defendant-appellee, City of Vincennes (City).

We affirm.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

On March 19, 1984, on Chestnut Street in Knox County, a collision occurred between an automobile driven by Martha S. Oates (Oates) and a motorcycle operated by Doyle. Chestnut Street is a two-lane public thoroughfare, 33 feet in width, which runs north and south through Vincennes University. Doyle had been traveling southbound on Chestnut when his motorcycle collided into Oates's vehicle as she attempted to exit from a parking lot.

The parking lot, located on the west side of Chestnut, is owned, operated, and patrolled by Vincennes University. The lot has two exits by which motorists may gain access to Chestnut. The collision occurred at the northern-most exit. On the date of the accident parking was prohibited along the east side of Chestnut. On the west side of Chestnut, parking was prohibited only to a point eight to ten feet from the north edge of the north exit. There were no marked cross-walks, fire hydrants, or traffic control signs or devices, including warning signs, at or near the juncture of the parking lot exit and Chestnut Street. Doyle was seriously injured as a result of the accident.

Doyle filed a complaint on January 29, 1985, naming Oates, the City, and Vincennes University as defendants. In Count I of the complaint Doyle alleged negligence on the part of Oates in her operation of her automobile. Count II of the complaint alleged that the City and Vincennes University negligently failed to place curb markings of sufficient length prohibiting parking on the curb immediately north of the north parking lot exit and traffic control signs and signals at or near the exit.

Doyle compromised his claim against Oates and Vincennes University and the litigation against them was dismissed. The City filed a motion for summary judgment on January 9, 1987, asserting that the City was immune from liability because decisions regarding the placement of warning signs and curb markings indicating parking restrictions are discretionary acts. The trial court granted the motion, finding that the City's decisions to prohibit parking in the manner it had and not to install warning signs were discretionary acts for which the City was immune from liability under IND. CODE 34-4-16.5-3(6). From this judgment, Doyle appeals.

ISSUES

Restated, the issues presented on appeal are:

I. Whether the City's decision not to install warning signs at or near the parking lot exit was a discretionary act immunizing the City from civil liability under IND. CODE 34-4-16.5-3(6).

II. Whether the City's placement of curb markings to prohibit parking within an area eight to ten feet in length immediately north of the parking lot exit violated a ministerial duty imposed by the manual to ...


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